Lithium Market to Grow due to Development of Direct Extraction Technologies

Posted On February 17, 2021     

Lithium is the main component used to make rechargeable batteries and is used in everything, ranging from smartphones to electric cars. In between the years 2015 and 2018, the price of lithium carbonate more than tripled. Lithium Carbonate is the sole source of one of the most important elements in electronics. This brought to the surface several fundamental faults in the functioning of the market.

The constant demand for the electric car makers' element pushed Lithium carbonate's price to the height of $20,694 per tonne (2018); this was a considerable increment from $5,312 per tonne in 2015. Recently, the price plummeted to a more decent amount of $6700 per tonne.

Manufacturers in the market have been putting together brains to raise the commodity's production to meet the demand.  However, this has brought on criticisms on the group as traditional production techniques result in colossal damage to the environment. The established practice of ore mining of hard rock deposits, especially in parts of China and Australia, have been berated for the amount of fossil fuel being used to process the metal.

New technology firms have found just the right way to solve this problem. That is to use direct extraction technologies. This idea may bring a vast positive change to the Lithium Market, which has fallen into an existential crisis due to continuous criticisms. They bring forward using a technology that uses a synthetic membrane to filter out the lithium present in the brine. This will possibly result in increased productivity and environmental sustainability due to reduced chemical usage.

The firm stated that once lithium is extracted from the brine, it (brine) can be returned to the underground, which will sustain the water levels in the reservoir. Further, it will also not impact freshwater situated nearby. People, who are located in the communities where lithium mining is rampant, face water scarcity as a real issue. The new direct extract technologies can help in addressing such issues as well, as lack of water resource was one of the reasons why the Lithium price increased in 2015.

These technologies can extract lithium within an hour compared to months previously needed for the processing. Once the supply starts to meet the demand, it may positively affect the Electric vehicles Market. Experts believe that it is likely that the market would encounter double-digit growth annually.

Although this new development is significant for Lithium Market, there are still many hurdles to be crossed. Expansion of the latest technology will be a challenging feat to achieve as commercialization in this market has a low success rate. It  is because most producers come in over budget and behind schedule. Experts believe that Lithium Market needs newer knowledge material instead of technologies as there lays an inherent skill gap in the techniques used to mine ore.

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